Is low wages for contract workers the reason why employees at the Maruti factory in Manesar went on the rampage? According to Gautam Mody, secretary of the New Trade Union Initiative(NTUI), it is low wages of the contract workers that is central to labour issues.
“2 out 3 workers are contract workers. The Indian business model today is based on low wages. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. pays 2% of its turnover as salary and wages including the salary of the Managing Director,” Mody said on a late night discussion on CNN-IBN.
“If you look what the janitor’s salary is and what the Director’s salary is in that 2% is, you see how little the workers earn,” he added.
Mody said the violence seen in Manesar, in which an HR manager was killed, was not a one-off incident and in the past even workers have lost their lives.
“We have seen a series of these events, in Yanam few months ago, in Coimbatore few years ago and in Noida not so long ago. We have seen more workers than managers killed. I am not making a case for retribution and I am not condoning violence,” Mody said.
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, seniour journalist, blamed the towards the poloarisation in Indian society as one of the reasons for the violence.
“Look at the bigger picture of a society that has got extremely polarised. One section of the society is feeling deprived. What we are seeing is this gap, and the gap is widening,” Thakurta said.
“The organised sector of Indian’s workforce is not even 10% of the total workforce. Over 90% of the country’s workforce is unorganised. Even within the organised workforce you are finding people who are very very unhappy with the state of things,” he said.